Adapt your storytelling from page to stage

metz-86226_1280There’s a natural assumption that as a communications specialist you are expert in delivering both written and verbal content.

Staff within your company feel they can reasonably expect this of you. You are seen as a communications all-rounder.

In the same way that managers are expected to manage, communicators are expected to communicate, irrespective of format or channel.

As we know, the reality can be different. A press officer, for example, may feel confident writing a 400 word story for trade press, but are they as comfortable telling a story to 400 people at a conference?

I admit there are exceptions and some communicators can do it all. But many cannot and arguably, communicators are spending more time behind computer screens and less time in front of people.

I found it interesting therefore to read Roy Greenslade’s column in The Guardian a few days ago. Some newspapers in the UK and US are organising conferences, staging panel debates and running educational courses to enable readers to meet their writers.

To help journalists with their verbal storytelling skills, newspapers in the US, owned by Gannett, are pioneering an initiative, aiming to skill up their journalists to relate stories live in front of audiences.

I was glad to read this because it recognises that verbal story telling is a serious craft, and that communicators of whatever background, need to work hard at it to become good. Commercially speaking, the events are also helping newspapers reach a wider audience and generate profile, as well as sponsorship and revenue.

However, people will only pay to attend such events if journalists can successfully convert their storytelling skills from the page to the stage. And this is exactly what communications specialists have to do. While communicators cannot always demonstrate a direct connection to revenue, the impact on personal and corporate reputation is just as high.


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